In April of 2017, I began to formulate my next step for the 'Dreaming of Home' project. I proposed to interview a further 5 people, and this time record the interview process. I wanted to use this footage in the final exhibition as a means of showing something of the human story behind the final drawing. The theme was still 'home', but this time, I switched emphasis from dreams and desires, to formative memories. I asked the interviewees to recall places of gathering, privacy, inspiration and shelter. The places didn't have to have four walls. The questions were simple, requesting descriptive replies.
Over the course of the five 30-minute sessions, the interviewees (who had volunteered to take part through a Facebook page call-out), described a variety of memories. Some commented that they hadn't thought about these particular memories for a long time. Others commented on how the interview had 're-framed' the memory, giving rise to new insights.
THE PREPARATORY SKETCHES
I worked with model, Kitty Quinzell, to create the scenes from the collected stories, working on three different locations. I worked in oil and soft pastel.
THE FINAL DRAWINGS
Whether the stories were about a moment of contentment or despair, I wanted the drawings to hint at the idea that in life, something else is usually waiting for us around the corner. I took inspiration from the Spanish artist Francisco De Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), who explored human action at its extremes, particularly through his works, Los Caprichos. John Berger, the art historian, comments on how Goya composed his pieces as if designing for theatre, as opposed to concerning himself with style. I think I have a similar approach (with less masterly effects!!) I also adopted a monochrome palette, using Parker ink and acrylic ink. I sealed the work with a UV-filtering varnish, and commissioned giclee prints of the originals.
I entered the These Four Walls project as a proposal to be included in the C-art Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2017 exhibition. The work was selected by a panel of five Young Curators (age 20-24), who were mentored by Thomas Dukes, Curator of Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery, and Ainslie Roddick, Curator at the Centre of Contemporary Art in Glasgow. These Four Walls went on to jointly win the Curator's choice for Artist of the Year, together with the work of artist Brian Shields. The exhibition runs until 5 November 2017.